Sunday, April 27, 2008

Little Smooshy -- Happy At Last

As you may recall from this post, my Dream in Color Smooshy in the gorgeous Chinatown Apple colorway has been having a rather hard time lately.

First I tried to knit it into a pattern that was far better suited to a sweater than a sock. Dreadful.

Then I attempted to turn it into Snicket socks, a totally inappropriate treatment for this lovely yarn.

Smooshy is back on the needles again, but this time we have found the perfect pattern. Not without a bit of work, but it was worth it. We're both agreed on that.

Smooshy was enthused about a stitch pattern called "Cable and Twist Rib." I thought it was perhaps too elaborate, but agreed to give it a try. Well, it wasn't bad. But once again we had issues with dimensions. The picture in the book showed more space between the cables/twists. Probably the sample was knit on larger needles. With sock yarn on 2.25mm needles, it's kinda scrunched. I could have added more rows, but then we saw another stitch pattern on the facing page.

This one is called "Elongated 6-Stitch Cable." We loves it. Not a standard 3X3 cable, it moves two stitches over from left to center, then twists them over to the right two rounds later (does that make any sense?). This phased approach keeps the cable nice and flat, which shows off the colors of the yarn.

So, Smooshy is happy, and I am happy, and soon there will be socks.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Snicket Socks Are Finished!

These socks were a slow knit, probably because almost every round has stitches being moved left, right, behind, in front, etc. But they were fun – tremendous fun. Now I understand why some socknitters get fixated on a specific pattern and keep knitting in up in different yarns. It's taking all my willpower to refrain from casting on another pair of Snickets right away. Anyway, here they are ---

The designer is Sabine Riefler, and the pattern, which came from the now extinct Magknits, is available as a free download from Ravelry. For those who do not belong to Ravelry, Sabine's website would be a good place to encourage her to make the pattern available outside of Ravelry. My Snickets are in Knitpicks Essential Tweed, bare. Ravelry has about 150 other pairs, knit in every yarn you could imagine.

I only changed two little details. The original pattern features a short-row heel and a plain toe. Since short-row heels don't fit me well, I did a traditional flap-and-gusset heel, continuing the pattern down onto the heel flap. Same thing on the toe. There's a point in the design where both diamonds are of equal sizes (K2,P4 becomes K1,P2,K1P2), and that's the moment to "continue in pattern as established" as so many knitting patterns like to say (often to my vast confusion).

I'm really happy with these socks; they fit well, look cute, and go with everything. Next on the sock needles will be the Smooshy Chinatown Apple, which has been quietly recovering from our miscommunications of last month.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Saturday Sky

In the interests of full disclosure I must admit that these pictures were taken on Friday. I had just stepped out the kitchen door to hang some wash on the line, and there it was. Lovely fluffy roving in the sky. You spinners will recognize it. Given the short staple length and parallel alignment, I'd say Merino top. Don't you think?

And a half turn to the left gives us a view of the neighbor's windvane nicely positioned in front of what just might be the drafting triangle.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Too Many Decisions

The Sakiori Vest is coming along. I have edged both the sides and seamed up the back. The sewing wasn't too bad – felt awkward at first, but at the halfway mark things began to go quite smoothly. I definitely could see myself doing more sewing in future. Below is the sewn and edged back. BTW These pix were all taken indoors with flash so the color is a little dodgy; it was 90 degrees in the shade today, no way was I going outside (Apologies to those who live in colder climes; listening to someone moan about excessive heat must be annoying.).

Now I have to turn my attention to the collar. This is where life gets interesting. For starters there is not enough left of the black Baby Ull that I used for the bottom and side edges and had planned to use for the collar. Of course, I could buy another skein. Black is black; color matching should not be an issue. But . . . where is it written that one must blindly follow the pattern? Heck, I could do the collar in green. Okay, not green. But I do have some charcoal grey Baby Ull. Stranded together with the black, it would be enough for the collar. And this would maintain the "using up leftovers" spirit of the project.

The other fun aspect of the collar involves connecting up the 30 stitches from the fronts (the ones on those little blue holders) with the collar/front edging which is knit sideways to the held stitches. The pattern says to SSK a collar edge stitch with a held stitch at the end of every row. That will require at least 30 rows, which will take up about 4 inches. But that section of the front is only 3 inches wide. Oops. Probably I'll need to K2tog a collar edge stitch with a held stitch at the beginning of each row as well -- maybe every other row, maybe randomly when it seems appropriate. Hard to tell.

After the collar there is only one more step – the two little side pieces that connect up the front and back. These have a certain size and positioning for Sakiori I (the long vest), and a different arrangement for Sakiori II (the short version). Mine is medium length – Sakiori 1.5, I guess – so dimensions and configuration will have to be worked out.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Dancing With Cheryl Oberle

Last night I dreamed that I was taking ballroom dancing lessons from Cheryl Oberle, who is (as you probably know), not a dancing instructor, but a designer of knitwear and author of the wonderful "Folk Vests" and "Folk Shawls." In this dream, Cheryl was helping me select a gown for a dance competition (we chose an aqua number that looked much like the dress I wore to the Junior Prom) and was telling me that I needed to take additional 'technique' lessons from 'San Francisco Joe.'

No need to hire a dream specialist to interpret this one (except for the bit about 'San Francisco Joe.' Huh?). I am in the oh-so-frustrating throes of completing the Sakiori Vest, one of Cheryl's designs. And I wish there were a greater repertoire of knitting technique at my disposal. This vest has far too many edges – edges that I should have taken into account before I began.

I have picked up 198 stitches along the right side – an agonizing process since I had not planned ahead and therefore had a messy edge to work with – and am seed-stitching my way along to the point where I have to bind off all 198 stitches (in seed stitch!). When the right side is completed, I get to do it all over again on the left side. After which there is the intense joy of sewing up the back seam (I haven't sewn an actual seam on a sweater in over 20 years. Top-down, in the round – that's my mantra.) And then there is the neck/front border, which will involve picking up a number of stitches I don't care to think about, seed stitching them, and binding them off. After endless agonies of seeds the vest will still be incomplete. There are two small side panels to be knit and attached. Not too painful, although they both begin and end with our favorite stitch (s--d).

If all this sounds as though I am whining, well, I guess I am. The assembly and sewing bits are my least favorite part of knitting. The danger zone where a project becomes a UFO is right here. Knitted pieces have been known to linger, collecting dust, until all memory of their original purpose is lost. The only cure I know for SAS (Sewing and Assembly Syndrome) is avoidance. A little armhole finishing is not too painful; necklines are small and not so daunting. Anything else is overwhelming.

Clearly I should never have begun this vest. But having done so, I am determined to finish it. I'm not having fun, but I WILL finish. Never again, though. Never again. I need to consult with 'San Francisco Joe' (as soon as I figure out who he is) and learn some new techniques – the kind that eliminate SAS.